Name researcher

Host institution

Academic promoter

Co-promoter

Hesam Pourfallah

Universiteit Antwerpen

Prof. Patrice Perreault

Prof. Francesco Contino (UCL)

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Design of an energy efficient intensified and electrified H2 release unit from Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carrier (LOHC)

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This PhD will do a CFD study on the design of a new reactor type for H2-release from a Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carrier (LOHC)  with automated shape optimization procedures.

H2 storage is the current bottleneck in the H2 economy due to its very low density. Fortunately, it is possible to store H2 at milder process conditions, making use of the Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carrier (LOHC) concept: H2 is reversibly stored at 30-50 bars and 150-300 °C via a catalytic exothermic reaction by saturating the double bonds of organic molecules. H2 is then released on-demand at atmospheric pressure in an endothermic catalytic reaction occurring  below 300 °C. The development of novel LOHCs with lowered energy requirements is considered as an urgent priority in the 2023-2025 time period.

As part of this PhD project, the candidate will design, simulate, and optimize an electrified unit for the release of H2 from LOHC. The optimization procedure will result from computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations in the context of automated shape optimization, as well as from establishing the base over which future work based on topology optimization of this multiphase reacting flow will be performed. Innovative catalyst coating and characterization will also be required as the catalyst must be coated on surfaces that can be electrified.

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